Perth is TWELVE (12) time zones from Rochester! So, we decided to break up our trip home to try to minimize jet lag. Our first stop was on the east coast of Australia. We first flew to Melbourne (two time zones away), rented a car, and took a week to drive to Sydney for our next flight, mostly along the Hume Highway.
We stayed in Melbourne only a couple of days, but we fortunate to have friends to visit there. On the left are the Buyyas: Smrithi, Soumya, and Raj. Nan had "met" Raj on the internet through clustered computing interests. On the right are Allison Schultz (originally from the Rochester area) and Stuart Grant, her significant other.
Melbourne straddles a river. We had breakfast with Alli and Stu in one of the many restaurants that line it.
Nan started shopping for opals here and enjoyed in particular this busker, one of the many one finds in all Australian cities. On the right is the Melbourne Aquarium of Legionnaire Disease fame.
The view from the hotel included the Maritime Museum that Walt visited while Nan shopped. :-)
One of our pit stops on our trip took us by the Great Merino.
It actually is quite fascinating to look at
shop in (:-)) and even look out of!
Our first stop was Parliament which is visible throughout Canberra. On the right is a view of the war memorial and the old Parliament from the grounds.
It was fascinating to tour the Parliament as besides interesting architecture, they have some very important documents on display, such as the (British) Magna Carta (!) and the document signed by Queen Elizabeth granting Australia's independence.
And you can walk around on the (grassy!) roof and see the flag pole(s) up close.
We met Nan's friend Peter Price and Maureen his significant other for a wonderful dinner. Nan hadn't seen Peter since a conference in Florida in 1985!
We visited the Canberra Deep Space Communications Center and saw lot's of space and astronaut information and a lot of dishes.
Here are some more.
Then it was on to a nearby nature preserve where we saw only the visitor's center and freely roaming emu. It was too cold to do much hiking, although we hear there are good opportunities for seeing Kuala in the wild.
We stopped a nearby shopping area for lunch and then visited a walk-in aviary. Rambo, the rainbow lorikeet on the left, was especially friendly. The bird on the right is a bit nasty, but really liked my lace tips.
It was neat to have the birds be so friendly.
Katoomba is a town about 1 1/2 hours west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains, part of the Great Dividing Range. The blue haze is a result of the fine mist of volatile oil given off by eucalyptus trees, which is why eucalypt forests can explode into firestorms.
Katoomba stimulated feelings similar to those we experienced at the Grand Canyon - stunning vistas, and deep canyons.
Here we see the famed Three Sisters.
As at the Grand Canyon, there are many hiking trails. We did a short one along the cliff edge. Interesting rock formations, eh?
We spent our last two days in Sydney. We took a four hour boat tour of the harbor area where we saw the symbols of Sydney, its opera house and harbor bridge.
The tour was very interesting. We saw some wonderful views of Sydney and Fort Denison.
The harbor is quite extensive and is in need of its light houses.
Sydney is getting ready for the Olympics. Its a little difficult to tell in this photo, but many skyscrapers are advertising their occupants' involvements. The rail you see is the tram that circles the central area.
We were on our way to the Australian National Maritime Museum when we discovered the Queen Victoria Building. (Sorry my photoshop skills aren't THAT good!) It was recently renovated at great expense and contains
a magnificent shopping area! Nan bought some opals here.
One of the main objectives was to visit the Batavia once again (see our September 1 and May 10 reports). It had traveled (on a ship) to Sydney from the Netherlands for the Olympics.
Here's another view of the Batavia replica and of the Vampire, an ex-RAN Daring Class destroyer (1952), that could be explored.
An Endeavour replica could be explored as well. Walt explored them all, while Nan spent her time inside the museum and shopping.
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